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Reality Store is a financial simulation where high school students choose careers and make decisions about their budgets and lifestyles.  The activity is a fun and effective way for students to learn about personal accounting, financial responsibility and life choices, and interact with business people from the community.  The Rotary Club of WaupacaRotary Club of Waupaca supports the Reality Store with local professionals who staff the various learning stations.

With “Reality Store” upperclassmen get the opportunity to live within their budgets.  They meet in the gym, with various goods and services “stores” set up around the gym floor.  There are auto dealers, realtors, a drivers license office, entertainment centers, equipment sales, bank, savings and loan and many, many more.  At the outset, the students select a profession and start with a dollar budget.  They move on to purchase for their needs, wants and desires.  They soon find out that their funds grow low, and might need to borrow.  Some live within their means, and others may go bankrupt.  Others return  to the car dealership, for example, and proceed to turn the new car they purchased in for a less expensive one, or a used car.  The entire program has been very productive, popular and enriching for students in the past.

Every year the Waupaca Breakfast Rotary Club provides dictionaries to third grade students.

Over the last five years the Rotary Club of Waupaca has provided grant money to Waupaca’s Title 1 Reading program to help purchase Leveled Literacy Kits (LL1).  The LL1 kits are very expensive and without the help of the Rotary Grants, the Title 1 program would not have all of the kits it does.

Title 1 Reading is a federally funded program to provide teachers, materials and conferences in a targeted school for working with students who are below grade level in reading.  Help is provided in small groups.  The LL1 kits that Rotary helps fund contain books and reading materials that are designed to teach all aspects of reading, strategies, writing, word work, vocabulary and comprehension.  The kits cover four levels of students:

Orange (Kindergarten); Green (First Grade); Blue (can cover end of Kindergarten to mid Third Grade); Red (can cover beginning Third Grade to mid 4th grade).

Several activities provide special support of music educational programs in the local schools.  Every year, a portion of the proceeds from the "Waupaca's Own" Summer Concert fundraiser go to support the music program.  Rotary also has assisted with drives for used musical instrument donations.

​The Rotary Club of Waupaca provided grant funds to help grow PBIS initiatives in the Waupaca school and community.  PBIS stands for Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports.  It is a research-based systems approach designed to enhance the capacity of schools to (1) effectively educate all students, including students with challenging social behaviors, and (2) adopt and sustain the use of effective instructional practices.  “Thank you Rotary!  PBIS is helping to teach our students the positive character traits needed to be a contributing citizen in our community.  PBIS is teaching our students that their positive behavior choices make an impact on their daily interactions with others.  PBIS is building a strong community feeling in our schools.” – Scott Van Ess, WHS Dean of Students.

The Rotary Club of Waupaca is a strong supporter of the High School's annual Rube Goldberg Machine Building Contest.  “Thank you for your support; with your help, our physics II class was able to enter two teams, both of which competed last Friday, March 7th, in Pewaukee.  We had a fantastic time and we learned a lot about problem solving, teamwork, and engineering.  Much thanks!” – Waupaca High School Physics II Class.

Rube Goldberg Machine Contests are designed to encourage teamwork and out-of-the-box problem solving for students of all ages.  The designed machines tackle the most mundane tasks and ask participants to create their own overly elaborate and hilariously conceived wacky contraptions in honor of the competition’s founding father.

Rube Goldberg (1884-1970) was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, best known for his nutty chain reaction inventions.  The popularity of these cartoons made him a cultural touchstone, an adjective in Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and a term that today is invoked daily in American media.

The contest encourages the use of every-day objects to create the Rube Goldberg Machine and to integrate as many recycled items as possible.  One should imagine the kinetic components of everything in the world and put it into motion in the design of the Rube Goldberg Machine.

​“The last three months have been a great experience.  I have learned a lot about engineering, problem solving, and teamwork.  I’m glad we were able to be part of the competition.” – Zander Newville

​​​Youth Education is an important focus of the Mission and Goals of the Rotary Club of Waupaca.  The Club has a number of programs and activities specifically intended to enhance youth education in our community.

The Rotary Club of Waupaca Education Grant Program was created to provide funds for qualifying projects and access to community members and resources to advance academic education in grades K-12 in the Waupaca area.  Preferred projects will require a moderate financial commitment and/or dedicated Rotarian/Community support while affecting a significant result.  Emphasis is on projects that: (1) enhance studies in math, science, reading, English, technical skills and other academic areas; (2) are creative, innovative, and allow student skills development and new experiences; (3) encourage student cooperation, team-building and provide leadership development opportunities; (4) allow for interaction and participation with Rotarians and community members; and (5) provide opportunities for student activities and learning not currently available. 

A total of $7,134.31 was awarded in 2018 for nine education grants based on applications submitted by Waupaca school district teachers.  The approved projects included three at the Waupaca High School, Two at the Middle School, one at the Waupaca Learning Center, one at the Chain Exploration Center, one project for Special Education, and one project at the Iola Schools.  The high school projects included nanotechnology STEM kits and the creation of a saw mill plus finding for the Student At-Risk program.  The two middle School projects were for materials to upgrade a science lab and a project to build a Mars Rover robot.  The Waupaca Learning Center received funding for 4k kindergarten supplies and the Chain Exploration Center received funding for kayaks to be used to study Silver Lake's health and ecosystem.  The special education teachers were awarded funds for sensor items to help meet student needs.  The Iola-Scandinavia School District was approved funding for a music education program.

In the past 9 years, 90 Education Grants have been awarded totaling $82,608.



Grant applications are accepted until September 30 of each year.  After review by the committee, award announcements will be made in October, and checks will be distributed to meet requested project timing for the current school year.

​Click to Download the document below which contains application guidelines and forms